Despite an impressive rally from Michigan State at the end of the third set, the Spartans were not able to force a fourth and were swept by No. 6 Ohio State Saturday night.
MSU was able to get the first point on the board at the start of every set, but it did not take long for the Buckeyes to strike back to take the lead and subsequently the match.
In the first set, the Spartans were able to hold the lead until an attack error allowed Ohio State to tie it 8-8. After that point, the Buckeyes took off with the lead and outscored the Spartans 17-5 for a 25-13 win.
After Michigan State put the first couple of points on the board in the second, Ohio State took control of the set and quickly took the lead. The Spartans were able to make up some lost ground and tie the game 10-10, but the highly skilled OSU team shut down the rally quickly and won the set 25-18.
Unlike the first two sets, the Spartans were able to shake up their opponents a little to close out the third. Similarly to the previous sets, MSU got the first points on the board, but OSU took an early lead. The Spartans were able to tie the set 8-8 and take the lead during the middle of the set.
Once the set reached a 20-20 score, the lead was back and forth with neither team was ready to give up the third set without a fight. Michigan State was able to force extra serves by tying the score 25-25, but their top 10 opponent eventually took the set 27-25 and the match in a 3-0 sweep. The loss was Michigan State's 11th consecutive defeat.
Freshman outside hitter Selin Aslayan and fifth-year middle blocker Rebecka Poljan stood out for the Spartans, logging nine kills each — Aslayan with a .115 hitting percentage and Poljan with a .261.
First-year Head Volleyball Coach Leah Johnson said she saw a change in her team during the third set, and MSU's ability to stay in the game mentally is what allowed them to threaten the Buckeyes with a potential fourth set.
“I thought we stayed very diligent and aggressive, and I was proud of the team for that,” Johnson said.
The team was surrounded by MSU volleyball alumni over the past few days to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the team itself. Coach Johnson said they had the opportunity to have them at practice and at both games over the weekend.
“A lot of pride to wear the green and white,” Johnson said. ‘We're trying our darnedest to be sure that we represent that at a high level.”
The Spartans will be back at the Breslin Center next Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. to take on Illinois.
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